Adkins Arboretum Assistant Director Jenny Houghton was honored with the Robert Finton Outdoor Educator of the Year Award at the Maryland Association for Environmental & Outdoor Education (MAEOE) Annual Conference in Ocean City, Md.
A longtime leader in environmental education, Finton personified enthusiasm, innovation and excellence in the field. Honoring his memory by rewarding efforts to strive for these qualities, the award recognizes an educator who demonstrates leadership and innovation in environmental and outdoor education.
Originally trained in French and education, Houghton began her career at the Arboretum by accident. Marriage brought her to the Eastern Shore, where there was a dearth of demand for French teachers. She fell in love with the Arboretum while attending a fall festival and made a cold call for employment the next day.
Nearly 17 years later, Houghton has participated in extensive environmental training and has advanced from nature preschool teacher to the Arboretum’s coordinator and director for youth programs and to her current position as assistant director. In this role, she oversees the Arboretum’s volunteer, docent and Maryland Master Naturalist programs, writes grants and program curricula, schedules programming and facilitates group tours, outreach and special events. Those who have enjoyed the Arboretum’s Beer Garden, Fairyfest and other signature events have reaped the benefits of Houghton’s hard work and organizational wizardry. Always a lover of the outdoors, she has found her place in the world, and it’s not limited to a classroom.
MAEOE works in collaboration with members and partner organizations to support and grow a network of environmental and outdoor educators throughout the state and the Mid-Atlantic region. MAEOE is a member of NAAEE, the North American Association for Environmental Educators. Its signature programs include the #MDGreenSchools Program.
A 400-acre native garden and preserve, Adkins Arboretum provides exceptional experiences in nature to promote environmental stewardship.